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The Alpha Strategy: The Ultimate Plan of Financial Self-Defense Hardcover – April, 1981
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The Alpha Strategy is a refreshing, common-sense idea that can completely and permanently insulate your assets from all investment risks, including inflation, depression, taxation, and market manipulation. In the rush for illusory profits promised by investment hucksters, there is a very good reason why The Alpha Strategy has been overlooked: because it totally thwarts the investment schemes that allow others to profit at your expense. It prevents anyone in the financial industry from chipping away at your wealth. It is a plan that allows you to bypass all conventional markets – and their pitfalls. Doug Casey says “If a person had time to read only one book on financial survival, I would advise him to read The Alpha Strategy. There is nothing that compares to it.”
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The second half which explains how to preserve your wealth is less beneficial. While it is true that buying products in advance of when you will use them can save money, some of the examples are terrible. Here is an example of how saving money by buying in advance can work and benefit you:
You use 1 roll of paper towels per week. Paper towels cost $1.25 per roll. Therefore, your paper towel expense is $1.25 per week. You buy paper towels each week, as you need them.
Now the book is telling you to stock up so when you realize you can purchase a pack of 12 rolls at $12.00 (and you actually have $12.00 to spend on them, as opposed to spending on debt or something else) you buy the dozen knowing you are saving $0.25 per roll/week. That doesn't seem like much money as it's just a quarter, but multiplying this over a lot of products, the savings does add up.
Now note: this only works during inflation (rising prices). If we were experiencing deflation (lowering prices) this wouldn't be good. The person in the example would be locked in at $1.00 per week spent on paper towels, for the next 12 weeks, and if the price deflated to $0.85 per roll, they would actually be losing money. So you will only want to use this tactic when you believe the price will RISE.
Another important thing to realize when reading is there are some things not worth purchasing in advance. The author advocates purchasing a car in advance and putting it up on blocks until you want to drive it, supposing you have enough money to do this. Now this might have actually worked in the 1980s when the book was written, but it is absolutely a bad idea today. The hoses and tires and other parts of the car will just rot if you store it on blocks for a few years. The amount of money saved would be lost as the buyer would have spent money getting the car road ready again.
Overall I feel the book is worth a read if you are already interested in this process, but apply logical though before taking action. Remember the book was written years ago, and see how things might apply in today's world and your own life before following this advice.
The second half of the book seemed a little over the top to me though. It sounds good to stockpile loads and loads of goods as tangible wealth, but it really is out of reach of most people.